In the most profound financial change in recent Middle East history, Gulf Arabs are planning – along with China, Russia, Japan and France – to end dollar dealings for oil, moving instead to a basket of currencies including the Japanese yen and Chinese yuan, the euro, gold and a new, unified currency planned for nations in the Gulf Co-operation Council, including Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Qatar.
Secret meetings have already been held by finance ministers and central bank governors in Russia, China, Japan and Brazil to work on the scheme, which will mean that oil will no longer be priced in dollars.
The plans, confirmed to The Independent by both Gulf Arab and Chinese banking sources in Hong Kong, may help to explain the sudden rise in gold prices, but it also augurs an extraordinary transition from dollar markets within nine years.
A fistful of yuan looks better than ever…
Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari can be well pleased with his recent visit to New York, securing US$1.5 billion annually for five years in non-military aid and gaining unprecedented political support from over two dozen heads of states under the Friends of Democratic Pakistan initiative.
Now it is the turn of the military to deliver following its successful campaign this year in the Swat Valley in North-West Frontier Province: it is poised for a major operation in the heart of Pakistani Taliban and al-Qaeda territory, the North Waziristan and South Waziristan tribal areas on the border with Afghanistan.
The need for this operation in the two Waziristans, over which the Pakistani armed forces had previously expressed grave concerns, was agreed on in a meeting in New York last week between the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and other US security officials and Zardari, who is also the supreme commander of the armed forces.
Pakistan has always been the key player in the whole situation in Afghanistan. But the Pakistanis have, over the years, hedged their bets on the U.S. vs. the Taliban, in part because the nature of Pakistan has always been to be an Islamic state, and the Taliban (and of course al-Qaeda) have had that as their objective par excellence.
Evidently those who control things in Pakistan have finally settled on the Taliban and their allies to be an existential threat to themselves, which is about a quick of a way to get things moving on this earth as there is. Success in this would simplify things across the border in Afghanistan as well.